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news details
RTI seeking OMR sheets from JU: IC's order contradicts CIC's orders
5/20/2018 10:57:43 PM
Early Times Report
Jammu, May 20: The Information Commissioner (IC) of J&K State Information Commission (SIC), while disposing of an appeal filed against Jammu University, has upheld the order of the Public Information Officer (PIO) wherein he said that an information seeker can only get copy of his own OMR sheet.
However, the order issued by IC Mohammad Ashraf Mir contradicts the previous orders of Khurshid Ahmad Ganai, Chief Information Commissioner (CIC), who in several cases directed for providing answer key and copies of OMR sheets of other candidates as well.
Details available with Early Times reveal that an RTI application was filed by Omesh Sharma, a resident of Shastri Nagar, Jammu on 17-07-2017 before PIO University of Jammu. The information seeker had sought copy of the Answer Key/OMR sheets of the objective type questionnaire consisting of 90 questions of the examination held by the JU for the post of Assistant Registrar on 23-11-2002.
The JU informed the applicant that since the said information pertains to the year 2002, the same was not available in the university. Aggrieved, the applicant filed first appeal before First Appellate Authority (FAA)/Registrar, JU on 25-08-2017. The FAA disposed of the appeal observing that since the desired information was not available with the JU, as such the same cannot be provided to the applicant. The applicant challenged the order of the FAA by filing a second appeal before the SIC on 22-12-2107.
The appeal came up for hearing before the SIC on 08-02-2018. During the hearing the PIO submitted that the information sought for by the appellant pertains to the year 2002 and the same was not available with the JU. The PIO also submitted that as per the statutes of the JU, the records of examinations and score awards are required to be destroyed after three years of date of examination. As such the JU was not required to keep the records of 2002 available after a lapse of 15 years.
However, the appellant submitted during the hearing that he had filed a writ petition with respect to the same selection process of 2002 which was disposed of by the High Court in 2016 in which the court observed that the records on the selection have been made available to court. The appellant further submitted that if the records have been submitted to the High Court in the said writ petition why cannot the JU furnish the same to the appellant under RTI Act.
The case was accordingly adjourned and the PIO was directed to produce copy of the statutes with respect to destruction of records pertaining to examination selection process conducted by the JU and also try to get records which were made available to court so that same could be furnished to the appellant.
The appeal again came for hearing before the SIC on 15-03-2018. The PIO of JU furnished a copy of Answer Key as sought by the appellant and also OMR Sheet of the appellant pertaining to 'A series' which was relevant to the concerned appellant.
The counsel for the appellant submitted that he will consult the appellant and furnish the rejoinder by or before the next date of hearing. The appeal was accordingly adjourned. The appeal yet again came up for hearing before the SIC on 11-04-2018. The counsel for the appellant submitted that the Answer Key pertains to only 'A series' while the Answer key with respect to other series have not been furnished. The PIO submitted that the appellant was a candidate of series A during the said examination and only the Answer Key of series A can be provided to him under the RTI Act as the information with regard to rest of the series would amount to third party information.
"The SIC is an agreement with a stand taken by the PIO that the appellant can only claim Answer Key of his own series and his own OMR Sheet. The OMR Sheets of other candidates and the Answer Key of other series cannot be provided to the appellant as these documents are not relevant for the appellant. The SIC is therefore, satisfied that the information sought for by the appellant has been provided to him through his counsel during the hearing and not further remains to be adjudicated in the appeal by the SIC. The appeal is accordingly disposed of," reads order issued by the IC Mohammad Ashraf Mir.
Pertinent to mention that in a recent case Umar Rashid Bandari V/S Public Service Commission, CIC Khurshid Ahmad Ganai had directed the PSC to provide copies of OMR sheets of other candidates who appeared for a written test for the post of lecturer 10 +2 in 2017. The said information was not provided by PIO of J&K PSC to Umar Rashid earlier who sought OMR copies of some other candidates who had appeared for the written test with him. Even the First Appellate Authority (FAA) of PSC had rejected this information but CIC had ordered the information to be disclosed which was in-fact disclosed after CIC's orders. Now as IC Mohammad Ashraf Mir has issued the orders in this case it is contradicting with the CIC's orders which is a matter of concern.
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